The Art of the Dragon*Con Playlist

Only 34 Days Until Dragon*Con2012!!!!

If you have ever seen the movie, or read the book, “Hi Fidelity”, you know that making a playlist is serious business.

If you are my age, you made mixtapes (though I think some people these days are going back to making mixtapes). If you are slightly younger than me, you made mix cds. But nowadays we have the technology to put as many songs as we want on a “playlist”, thereby ending any sort of interruptions to our disc jockeying genius.

Despite my occasional Luddite tendencies, I will freely admit, here and now, that playlists are better. Not only can you put a nearly-infinite number of songs on a playlist, but the typical drag-n-drop technique appeals to the lazy dj that lurks inside of me.

The playlist is, basically, your own clear channel radio station, which strokes the part of my ego that wants to share my music tastes with the unwashed masses.

Plus, if you’re driving in a car, you can’t very well listen to records, and even if you came up with a way to do that, it would be a bit impractical to change the record after every song.

But I’m sure I don’t need to convince the readers of this blog of any of that.

There are some basic rules of a playlist, for me. These may duplicate some of the Hi Fidelity stuff, but I can’t remember. If so, please forgive me, I’m not trying to plagiarize, only reinforce the universal ideals of the almighty playlist/mixtape.

1. In like a lion, out like a lamb.
This rule means that my playlists will almost always start out rockin, but will almost always end with a slow or sad song. One that applies to the topic at hand, of course.

2. A playlist should be like a batting order.
This, for the most part, only applies to the first 4 songs. You want a strong hitter out first, to set the tone. Then a few more strong hitters to get on base, but then the fourth song bats “clean up”, which is usually your heavy hitter, to bring all the guys on base home. This also usually signals a change, with the 5th batter being something completely different, like a bunt. Although this can change, depending on the overall length of the playlist (the longer the playlist, the longer it may take to make a transition).
Also like a batting order, the playlist should ebb and flow, with both high points and low points along the way, to keep the audience interested. The heavy hitters should be spread out, in order to keep rounding up the stragglers who may be stranded on second base with no one on first of third.
I shouldn’t have to mention that the flow of the songs should be always kept in mind, so that there aren’t too many jarring transitions. Once again, if Babe Ruth hits a solo homerun, it is only one run, but if he hits a grand slam, that racks up four points.

3. A playlist is about more than just the obvious.
Any jackanapes can google “songs about Halloween” or “songs about comic books”. A good playlist, to me, encompasses all aspects of the event at hand. For instance, my “summer” playlist isn’t just Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffett, it’s songs that, I feel, really capture the feeling of summer. It’s surf songs, of course, but they are right next to songs that I can picture a bunch of middle-aged white people grooving to under tiki torches on the beach at some Sandals resort somewhere (like Deacon Blues by Steely Dan). Possibly sneaking off to do a little blow, or make some dirty beach love. Yacht Rock and whatnot.
Music is about nothing if it isn’t about feelings, and a good playlist makes you feel every corner of the topic.

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Like me, a lot of you will be traveling to Dragon*Con (it’s about a five hour drive for me, which is almost to my limit as to how far I would drive for a Con, even one so majestic as D*C). Traveling goes a lot better if you have a friend to chat with (check), and if you have some good traveling tunes (also check). Hence, the Dragon*Con playlist, which I would eventually like to get up to 5 hours. That is a hint that all recommendations for my playlist would be appreciated.

To stay in tune with rule #3 listed above, my Dragon*Con playlist includes the following topics:
– metal songs about sword and sorcery
– bro-down songs, as this is a guys-only trip, sans wives/girlfriends/etc.
– songs about comic books and other nerdy shit (like science)
– road trip songs. This topic can be a bit esoteric, as almost anything could be a road trip song.

Without further ado, here are the first ten songs of the playlist, in order, with a brief explanation of the how’s and why’s. The rest of the playlist will be coming soon, of course.

1. To Magic Horizons ~ Luca Turilli

2. Black Dragon ~ Luca Turilli
These kind of count as one song, to me. To Magic Horizons is a long intro to the song Black Dragon off of Luca Turilli’s album “King of the Nordic Twilight”. Luca Turilli is the man behind, possibly, the nerdiest metal band of all time: Rhapsody (or “Rhapsody of Fire”). Epic power metal, of course. With a refrain of “Black Draaagooon Flyyyyyy”, this made it to the opening song of this playlist. Quite a lofty feat.

3. Do You Wanna Date My Avatar ~ the Guild (Felicia Day and Co.)
If you play mmo’s (which I play almost exclusively nowadays, though I have moved on from WoW to Warhammer Online) and have not watched The Guild, then I would recommend you check it out. Every episode is available on youtube HERE. Plus, the whole cast will be at Dragon*Con, including current geek-queen Felicia Day who basically is the Guild and, for some reason, seems to be kind of controversial in some circles.

4. Battlestar Galactica (Main Title) ~ Bear McCreary

5. Are You Alive?/Battlestar Galactica Main Title ~ Richard Gibbs
BSG is one of the main reasons I am going to Dragon*Con. Possibly my favorite sci-fi show of all frackin times. Like the Luca Turilli tunes, I put these together as the first one is really short and leads into this one. Number 4 is the one most people will recognize, as it is played on the blu ray menus and stuff (so if you’re like me and have fallen asleep while watching the BSG discs, you’ve heard #4 in your sleep about a gajillion times).

6. Valhall Awaits Me ~ Amon Amarth
The true number four, and clean-up batter for the playlist thus far, Valhall Awaits Me is my current mmo theme song. Warhammer Online has a very Nordic look to it that I really like a lot, and this song about vikings dying in glorious battle gets me pumped to wade into the fray, blindly swinging my axe and, usually, dying within about 5 seconds (WAR is heavy on the large pvp battles).

7. Nightfall ~ Blind Guardian
Definitely my favorite power metal band, Blind Guardian has numerous songs based on the works of JRR Tolkien, including an entire album based on the Silmarillion called “Nightfall in Middle-Earth”, which is where this song is from. “Never trust the Northern Winds! Never turn your back on friends!!!” Cheesy as eff, but screw it, Dragon*Con is a time when you can revel in your own cheesiness.

8. Checkmate ~ Cypress Hill
Ummmm. This one is an inside joke. There’s no reason it should be included on a Dragon*Con playlist otherwise. I’m sure you have some inside songs with your pals that you could put here instead.

9. Vacation ~ the Go-Go’s
Road trip song. This one is just so happy, it’s a natural fit for any holiday voyage.

10. Spiderman ~ the Ramones
Of course. I had a choice between the original version and this one and I chose this one just because I love the Ramones so much. It’s also a sly tribute to a friend of mine who passed away recently who was the biggest Ramones fan I have ever known. This version is great, though.

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Those are the first ten. Stay tuned for the rest (the entire playlist is at 55 songs right now), and feel free to recommend any tunes you may feel would be appropriate.

All of these songs are probably available on itunes if you don’t have them already, or you can just pirate the shit out of them, I don’t care.

Oh, and before I forget, I made a computer picture for the playlist. I google-imaged “rock n roll dragon” and nothing came up, so I made my own:

Rock n Roll Dragon washes away your gray day with the mystical power of a rock n roll rainbow.

That’s supposed to be a Jackson Warlock guitar, which is what I’m pretty sure a dragon would play. Dragon bands aren’t allowed in small clubs anymore. Thanks, Great White. assholes.

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One Response to The Art of the Dragon*Con Playlist

  1. Pingback: Finishing Up Your Dragon*Con Playlist « Fit for Dragon*Con 2012

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